"This could have happened with other sellings and it is evident that the city must reclaim pieces of art taken over on false grounds by private companies."
Ann-Mari Engel (left-wing party), member of the Board of Culture in Stockholm

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Stockholms stad krver tillbaka konst (Stockholm city reclaims art collection)
Svenska Dagbladet 2006-01-25

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Stockholm Arts Office


Look for the arts in Hard Rain:
Lars Gullin and Gerry Mulligan (nr 1), the Book-in-Sweden Foundation and the project "A Book For Every Child" (no. 2), Jimmy Carter, Noam Chomsky and Harold Pinter (no. 6), John Lennon and Ulf Dageby (no. 8), Children's books from the Nordic countries (no. 9), Still life painter Gunnar Hllander (no. 10).

Hard Rain    No 11    January 25, 2006
Stockholm art collection goes astray
When the Stockholm energy companies were sold to the finnish company Fortum, 170 pieces of art owned by the Stockholmers disappeared. This property must be returned. The action to be taken by the Board of Culture is most important.
The Stockholm city Arts Council with its Arts Office receives yearly grants in order to buy contemporary art. A most valuable art collection has grown over more than hundred years. The collection is definitely owned by the Stockholmers and by the rules the pieces of art shall be distributed among the premises of the city, i.e. schools, kindergartens, old age housing and district offices.

In 2002 the Stockholm energy companies were sold to the finnish company Fortum. The deal also included inventories belonging to the city. In that way 170 pieces of art disappeared: oil paintings, lithographs, watercolors, etchings and textiles.

In a letter to the city Board of Culture members of the City Council majority, including culture commissioner Roger Mogert (social democrat), calls for an investigation of the possibilities to ask Fortum to return the art collection.

Why is this action taken after so many years? The Arts Office has been under fire for being ineffective in its work. But when we talk about the arts collection that Fortum has" taken care of" the responsibility is definitely on another table.

Carl Larsson's fresco from 1900 can still be seen in Norra Latin.

  It stands to reason that the problem should have been solved when the conservative majority finally sold the energy companies in the beginning of 2002. Finance commissioner Carl Cederschild announced that he was very happy to make "a good deal". Opposition leader Annika Billstrm spoke about "treachery to the Stockholmers".

At the time Carl Cederschild and his assistants did nothing to involve the Board of Culture in the negotiations. The experts in the Arts Office could have given valuable advice on how to handle the arts collection.

This is maybe just the top of an iceberg. How many pieces of art has disappeared with other selling of city property? The action to be taken by the Board of Culture is important.

The Fortum affair is in any case an alarm clock not only for the Board of Culture and the Arts Office, but even more for the Stockholm city political leadership - irrespective of political color.

The art collection of the Stockholmers must not be embezzled!